Prescribed burning near Lake Tahoe, California. Photo courtesy of Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership.
The Lake Tahoe basin is a prime example of a landscape in which high-value ecological and social outcomes hang in the balance as climate changes over the next century.
Roosevelt elk in western Oregon. USDA Forest Service photo.
A newly revised toolbox in ArcGIS enables users to project nutrition and habitat use for elk across 11 million hectares of western Oregon and Washington. Wildlife biologists and forest planners can also use the toolbox to evaluate how management alternatives will likely affect elk habitat.
A hunter after a successful elk hunt at the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range, Oregon. USDA Forest Service photo by Mike Wisdom.
Sport hunting of deer, elk, and other wild ungulates is a popular recreational activity on federal lands.
Willows planted to improve riparian habitat for fish also provide an important early-season foraging resource for native bees. Photo courtesy of Scott Mitchell.
Native pollinators are critical to healthy ecosystems, including rangelands, but pollinators are in decline.
Wildflowers in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Montana. USDA photo by Preston Keres.
Pollinators—any species that moves pollen on a plant and supports plant fertilization—are essential to ecosystems worldwide. Despite their critical importance, pollinators are largely undervalued and understudied.
Stage 0 restoration on the South Fork McKenzie River, Oregon, used earth-moving machinery to fill incised channels and place thousands of logs to ultimately benefit fish and restore floodplains. USDA Forest Service photo by Steve Wondzell.
Stage 0 restoration is a new approach that essentially resets a flood plain. It evolved through the efforts of hydrologists and fish biologists with the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region.
The 2017 Thomas Fire in southern California spread quickly, driven by 80-mph Santa Ana winds. U.S. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.
The Santa Ana winds are notorious in southern California for their role in spreading large wildfires during the fall and winter seasons. Combined with southern California's complex topography that is marked by mountain passes and canyons, Santa Ana winds create challenges for modeling wind-fire relationships in the region.
Ferns sending up new shoots in the Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon, November 2020, following the Riverside Fire earlier that fall. USDA Forest Service photo.
Wildfires are a regular occurrence for many western forests, but increases in the size and severity of recent wildfires have led to concerns about long-term forest recovery. It can take decades to centuries for forests to fully recover from a severe fire, but most studies focus on short-term regeneration outcomes.
Northern spotted owl. USDA Forest Service photo by Julie Jenkins.
Some scientific research requires being in the right place at the right time. Missing a window for location- and time-specific research can mean missing out on valuable data needed to make informed land management decisions. For many Forest Service scientists, the global COVID-19 pandemic has presented a novel roadblock to such important work.
New threats from increased area, density and layering of forests, climate change, shifting wildfire regimes, and invasive species in forest landscapes east of the Cascade Range have triggered a need for new management policies. USDA Forest Service photo.
Large and old trees are important landscape elements. Given the complexity of changing climatic and wildfire regimes, as well as social and economic considerations, land managers are evaluating whether protecting many of these critical trees may require moving beyond one-size-fits-all restrictions like the 21-inch rule.